The events leading up to my dark night of the soul which you can read about in my previous post, were the perfect storm for an intense time of process to occur.
I had just returned from a 6-week stay in Berkeley visiting my friend Barbara. For a week of that time just before I came back to Arkansas, I spent a week with about 400 other animal rights activists at the Direct Action Everywhere forum.
I absolutely loved the event and spent about 12 hours a day 7 days in a row doing such things as taking workshops, participating in marches and other protests, having wonderful conversations with people from all over the world, and feeling as if I was part of a thriving community.
I had conversations about faith with about 50 people including atheists, agnostics, and Buddhists. I loved the dialogue. One of Th first things I would say to non-Christians was, “I am a follower of Jesus, but I don’t think you are going to hell just because you don’t believe a certain way. In fact, I think God will make a way for us all to be reconciled to him.
Before I surrendered my life to Christ 15 years ago, I met so many Christians who would ask me, “Are you saved?” and when I said “no” their immediate response was, “Well, you better get saved otherwise you are going to hell.”
Their words remind me now of this scenario.
Jesus says, “Do you want to dance with me?”
I say, “No.”
Jesus says, “Okay then, I’m going to kill you.”
Unfortunately, the Chrisitans who adopt this viewpoint are usually the most vocal, and thus they were the ones who turned me off to Christianity for many years.
As a Christian Universalist, I am one of the growing numbers of Bible believing Christians who believe that the Bible teaches that God wants to save us all, and will save us all.
A handful of people were Christian. We were definitely in the minority!
With a name like, “Jesus Vegans,” I immediately wanted to be able to help people realize that some Christians were vegans and animal rights activists. I know a lot of people have left their faith in Jesus because of the stand most Christians take–that we are supposed to eat meat!
Because I have finally found a path that all evidence points to as being true, and gives me the peace that I have searched for all my life, I want people to be open to Jesus. Therefore, I hope I planted some seeds.
During my dark night of the soul, I came to a point where I was doubting my faith. I think the exposure to so many who questioned the validity of my walk with Jesus, was challenging to me.
I also loved being with vegans and people who were so passionate about their cause. In some ways, I felt more at home with these folks than most Christians I know.
So when I felt the darkness, I missed the people who had become like a community to me. I felt very close to many of them, and shared experiences that bonded us. I participated with about 200 others in an open rescue when we stood outside a slaughter house in San Francisco while a few of the activists went inside and rescued some chickens in broad daylight.
I had a number of opportunities to speak in front of the whole group when the mic was offered. I really couldn’t believe how many times I brought up something that related to God or Jesus or prayer. I even mentioned in one group that I was pro-life! I did notice some people seemed to start withdrawing from me.
I imagine that some people did not enjoy my presence as a very vocal Christian. Since I am very sensitive to energy, but I also take people at face value, I am pretty sure some people were sending me mixed messages. That affects me deeply.
During my dark time, I kept questioning myself.
“Why did I get up and share so many times?”
“Why did I have to put myself out there?”
“Maybe I was too aggressive and turned people off.”
“What if I made things worse.”
“Who am I to think that I might be Christ’s ambassador.”
“Was so and so acting like they liked me? But in reality, they really didn’t?”
I got sick soon after the DxE forum, and arrived home with a severe cough and achy body, needing to stay in bed for a week. Since normally I am extremely active and have plenty of motivation to work, my usually cheery demeanor declined as the days I needed to be in bed dragged on.
Since normally I am extremely active and have plenty of motivation to work, my usually cheery demeanor declined as the days I was in bed dragged on.
I had way too much time to think about all the things that had happened in Berkeley, as well some things that had happened with friends locally. I had some conflicts with family members as well because I returned from my experience weak in body but overly zealous in my desire to promote veganism.
I came back to this draft about 6 months later and discovered I hadn’t finished it.
I will just say this: I emerged from my dark night with the help of friends and family, to whom I am so very grateful.
I also told God, “I am going to make you first in my life. I will never make other things more important.”
I was guided through a series of miracles to learn how to do spiritual practices, which I had wanted to do since the beginning of my Christian walk. But I had no discipline.
But by doing the practices on Facebook live, inviting others to join me and committing to do the practices whether people joined me or not, I had discipline!
God knew that my strength was that I do what I say I will do, and he used that strength, along with technology and encouragement of others.
Now I am doing what I call “holy breaks” 6 times a day, an hour in the morning, an hour at night, and 15 minutes 4 others times.
This has been my breakthrough, and I believe I will never have to go through the dark night of the soul again. I will write about my miraculous transformation in another article.
You can join me in doing spiritual practices and learning more about them in the Notes section at https://www.facebook.com/Christ-Centered-Spiritual-Practices-1489302337835342/